July Open Day tomorrow – moths and a rubber dinghy

Just a quick note to say our regular last Saturday of the month Open Day is tomorrow, from 1.00 to 4.00 pm.

Having tried out the rubber dingy kindly donated by a local business owner on Tuesday, I will be using it again to clear more of the duckweed from the deep end of the pond

There will also be a chance to talk to other Friends about the moths we have been finding, and photographing these summer evenings.  Here’s one such beauty

a Green Silver-lines .  It’s vibrating its wings to get its body temperature up, ready to fly off, maybe to lay eggs on one of our many oak trees.

For more moth photos from last month, see this album on our Facebook group


Sorry – no Open Day tomorrow

Our regular last Saturday of the month Open Days, from 13.00 to 16.00, which we have been running except in the winter for the last few years, depend on one or more of the Friends group being around.  But, a combination of long pre-arranged holidays and sudden family commitments means that this is not going to happen this month.  

We are really sorry about this, and two things we are taking from it:

  1. At least one of us will commit to being around for each month – so not assuming someone else will be able to be there, and
  2. We need more people in our Friends group – able to help on our Open Days and other work helping the wider community make use of this space.  If you are interested, please get in touch!

April Open Day this Saturday

This coming Saturday, from 1 pm to 4 pm, is the first opportunity in 2017 for everyone from the community to look round this local nature reserve, with its large pond, incorporating one of the last remnants of the Croydon Canal, and managed now for the benefit of frogs and other amphibians.


It is also used regularly by groups such as the Secret Adventurers, who have left two “Hedgehog trails” for children aged 2 – 4 and 5 – 7 to follow, so this will be a nice visit for families with young children.  Entrance is free, and now better signed, thanks to work just completed on Honeyfield Mews,


off Dacres Road, near the junction with Silverdale.

However, donations to the Friends of Dacres Wood, who support LB Lewisham in its management of this site, aiming to enhance the wider appreciation of the natural environment,


even here in London.  This year we are also setting up moth traps on a regular basis, to start learning what species we have round here, and hope this Saturday to get our first results.

We are currently planning how to enhance the adjoining Field Studies centre, as well as the reserve, and offering opportunities for volunteers to help in our work.  Please ask about these on your visit, and let your friends know about what we are doing!


Photos and species list from Bird Walk

Parakeet - Steve

Picture 1 of 18

Well, we didn’t see a sparrow hawk this year, but the weather was much better, and the mating nuthatches in Mayow Park were a bonus.  We’re now thinking about a trip to Norwood Country Park early May – should see load of white throats there.

Here’s the complete species list:

  • Blackbird
  • Wren
  • Robin
  • Mistle thrush
  • Greater spotted woodpecker
  • Green woodpecker
  • Parakeet
  • Nuthatch
  • Jay
  • Carrion crow
  • Magpie
  • Blue tit
  • Great tit
  • Chiffchaff
  • Chaffinch
  • Stock dove
  • Wood pigeon
  • Collared dove
  • Feral pigeon
  • Moorhen

and thanks to Ron and Steve for the photos

April 9th – Mayow Park and Dacres Wood Bird Walk

Just found a photo of that sparrowhawk in Dacres Wood from last year’s walk


The walk will start at 7.30 from Dacres Wood Nature reserve – at the end of Honeyfield Mews, which is off Dacres Road, Forest Hill, just past Catling Close on the right coming from Forest Hill, just before on the left if coming from Sydenham.  It will last between one and two hours, and most of it will be suitable for those with limited mobility – total distance walked will be about 1 km.

Just contacting those people who have left comments


Update – this year we will also be starting at 7.30

Early Sunday April 9th we’ll be meeting, with Friends of Mayow Park, at the Reserve for a combined bird walk round the reserve and then Mayow Park, coming back to the Field Studies centre for some tea and coffee.  

Last year we did this one very cold March morning, starting at 7.30.  At least we were rewarded with the sight of a chilly looking sparrowhawk, fluffing up its feathers high up in one of the Turkey Oaks, its eloquent body language saying it was too ****** cold to go hunting, and so what if those humans got a good site of me for once?

Seems like it was also too cold for me to get my camera out, so no sparrow hawk pictures, so here instead …

P1020872 (Small)

This year, I’m thinking we might start earlier, but I’ve yet to arrange that with Paul, our birding expert, so watch this space.  I’ll be tweeting, so anyone following @dacreswood will get live updates on what we see, and where we are, so can come and join us if you miss an early start.  If you’re not on Twitter, contact me for my mobile number, and I can respond to texts from anyone wanting to join us.

Updates to follow, including a list of the species Paul thinks we’re likely to see.


Last Tuesday of February tomorrow means …

At 9.30, Caroline, I and maybe a few others, will be at the Reserve from 9.30 doing some conservation work.  There’s an unsightly bonfire site we’re thinking of covering over with some of the reeds we pulled from the pond last year, and still lots of brambles to be dug out from the south end of the pond.  I hope also to get round to measuring some of the tree girths.

Then, at 2.30, I and anyone else who want to will be going round taking photos of what we see growing, rotting, flying, swimming, creeping, crawling, maybe floating in the pond in the case of frogspawn.  Help us make a year round record of the Reserve.

It’s also a chance to learn about what we are doing and thinking of doing at Dacres Wood, and sharing any ideas which occur to you.

More photos from January’s “Last Tuesday”

Thanks to Tom for sending these through – not sure if it was you who tool them or Kayla.  In any case, it’s great to see what someone else sees to photograph


Picture 1 of 55

Last Tuesday of January!

Morning – 9.30:

I’m going to be in Dacres Wood tomorrow, in the morning, starting 9.30, doing some conservation work.  Could be putting on waders and pulling out more reed sweet-grass, but if that’s too damp and cold, it could be the time to measure the girths of those big old Turkey Oaks.  Just how old are they?  This should give us a clue.  Nick Pond is also going to have a quick look round today, and get back to me with any other conservation tasks to be done.

Not strictly conservation, there’ll be things to do tidying up round the Field Studies centre, but I’m also thinking about putting together a whole list of things to do to make the place more welcoming, and organise a special volunteering day to work on this.  Below is how Iris at Grow Mayow has attached boards to some uninsulated walls, and started to wall paper them – the sort of thing I’m thinking about.


Afternoon – 2.30

Then, in the afternoon, I’m going to be going round with my camera, photographing mainly plants, but anything else natural which catches my eye.  I’m expected at least three more people to turn up with cameras, maybe with more of an artistic eye.  We’ll we doing these walks / photo blogging sessions the last Tuesday afternoon of each month, and hoping to capture the changing moods, vegetation of the reserve.

Bird Walk 26 December 2016

After a couple of festive days staying inside, I was ready for some fresh air. This perfect winters day, bright but cold was made for a short bird walk round the reserve. My son Nick and I wrapped up and set off.Inside the reserve all was quiet and 2 walks around the perimeter yielded a meagre 4 bird species; wood pigeon, robin, collared dove and great tit….possibly my poorest return ever here. However with few leaves round perhaps many birds were foraging in gardens; a more reliable food source. Undeterred we stuck around and as the day closed in birds began to arrive to roost and our numbers picked up. We saw wren, blackbird, goldfinch, chaffinch, blue tit, carrion crow and we heard a great sotted woodpecker in one of the tallest oaks. Try as we might all we gotf for our efforts to locate it were sore necks. However there was some reward in the form of a pair of nuthatches. I’ve always been puzzled why, with so many mature oaks in the wood I’ve never seen nuthatches before (one heard last summer), especially as they’re abundant in Mayow Park. Anyway as the temperature dropped we prepared to leave . Hard work but with the nuthatch sighting, ultimately rewarding. On the way out Nick saw a cormorant skirt the reserve and on the way home i picked up the churriing of a party of long tailed tits in a Silverdale garden and enjoy edged views. A nice ending to the walk.